Saturday, March 05, 2005

Rewarding foolishness with foolishness

There’s an old English adage that goes, “Don’t fight fire with fire.” By inference common sense dictates that the right way to fight a fire is with something other than fire, like say, water. The subject of this week’s opinion piece is an infuriating incident of the failure by a whole group of intellectual elites to grasp this idea of how to fight a fire.
Background. The past five years have been a dark dark age for media in Zimbabwe. Journalism there has reeled under an avalanche of intense repression emanating from government’s information and publicity ministry. Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe’s most despised minister has been at the center of this blitzkrieg. He has wielded and employed every dirty trick in the harassment book and then invented some of his own. From intimidating and arresting journalists, bombing and curtailing the operations of several Zimbabwean newspapers, to crafting and foisting a decrepit propaganda on the people of Zimbabwe, he has done it all.
His blistering vitriol and ad homonym diatribes targeted at any and all who’ve so much as dared to raise a voice in antagonism of any of his vicious pursuits of his grandiose plans to control and dominate the views of ordinary Zimbabweans have become the staple in state controlled media. In a short time this once reputed scholar turned vagabond has cleared the realm of media and information of any views that diverge from his, securing for himself a patented command to change the public agenda at will or whim.
Words cannot begin to capture and recapitulate the evil this vapid serpent has done our young nation using words. If you thought the Iraqi information minister was delirious for the infamous, “The infidels are burning at the gates of Baghdad,” you need encounter some of the ridiculous things done by Moyo and his stooges in the government’s information department. But like the English go on say, what goes around comes around; Moyo’s kingdom has fallen.
Just over a week ago, he was dismissed from the cabinet and ruling party for standing as independent in the parliamentary elections that are coming at the end of this month. All it took was an impersonal fax from the president’s office and Moyo was stripped of his powers. Moyo’s fall from fame has been so disgraceful, he doesn’t even have a roof to put over his family’s heads anymore.
Unfortunately there are some in the independent media still under the affliction of days gone by. They still fear and revere this vile man and continue to beam their brilliant spotlights full beam on him and his repugnant outbursts. While the state media has already turned on it’s former master, independent news publications are hung up on an era long past. The very same people who were perpetual victims of Moyo’s despondent craftiness are trying desperately to salvage and sustain Jonathan’s fast fading glory. I can’t help but wonder why.
This past week it was revealed that 41 independent journalists are going to stand trial for violating a law that Moyo single-handedly drafted; three foreign journalists were hounded out of Zimbabwe by Moyo’s goons; and ironically, two of Zimbabwe independent newspapers accorded Moyo acres of space. Even when his time is long gone, Moyo can count on the retrogressives that control the independent press to further his cause effectively sustaining his political viability. It’s a shame. I know the media is supposed to be a voice for the voiceless, but there are some who are better off voiceless!
The independent media in Zimbabwe must cast their eyes on things ahead and not behind. Bygones are, as the English like to say “bygones”. Forget Moyo, leave him to roam the political wildernes in soltitude. You cannot payback one man’s folly with more foolishness.

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